Neymar was substituted in the 80th minute of Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia in their World Cup opener on Thursday. The PSG player was subsequently photographed in tears on the bench, as photographs of his swollen ankle began to circulate on social media following the game.
Following that, the Brazilian superstar was ruled out of his country’s next group game against Switzerland, which Brazil beat 1-0 on Monday evening, and is almost set to miss the following group game against Cameroon.
Brazil found a way to win without their talisman Neymar on Monday, as Casemiro’s late strike secured the Selecao qualification for the Round of 16 after a hard-fought match against a tenacious Switzerland. The Manchester United midfielder scored late to give Tite’s team a difficult but well-deserved victory.
Following his country’s victory, Neymar praised his international teammate on Twitter, writing: “Casemiro has been the best midfielder in the world for a long time.”
Casemiro produced a starring performance in the heart of the Brazil midfield and ironically, it was the injury to Neymar that allowed him to pair up with his club teammate Fred in the center of the pitch – with the United midfielder taking the place of Neymar in the starting line-up.
Casemiro – who joined United this summer following a magnificent career at Real Madrid, where he won five Champions League titles – delivered an outstanding performance and has bolstered Erik ten Hag’s team’s midfield, quickly establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s stars players.
Switzerland coach Murat Yakin told reporters after his team’s defeat: “Well, the gameplan seemed to be working for a long time.” We had a lot of terrific running, and we now believe that the outcome is a bad one for us.
“It slipped through our fingers. We lacked courage on offense, so I congratulate Brazil on their victory, and with a bit more luck, we could have done even better. We have a lot of nice takeaways here, which will be useful in the upcoming game.”